At the beginning of baseball's offseason, Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd said that while he was willing to listen to trade offers for Brad Hawpe, the team had no desire to move its right fielder. With the Rockies looking like a strong playoff contender, there's a good chance they'll maintain that stance throughout the 2010 season. On a Colorado roster with a loaded outfield, however, Hawpe will be an interesting case going forward.
An underrated source of offensive production, the 30-year-old has been extremely consistent for the Rockies, compiling a .288/.384/.518 slash line and averaging 25 homers over his last four seasons. His play in the outfield is another story. Hawpe's -25.9 UZR/150 last season was a league-worst mark among qualifying fielders, but was actually an improvement over his -46.6 UZR/150 in 2008. Given his poor defense and his struggles against left-handers (.243/.337/.438 in 2009), Hawpe will likely cede some playing time to lefty killers Dexter Fowler and Ryan Spilborghs.
Hawpe will earn a reasonable $7.5MM salary this year. His club option for 2011, which he could void in the event of a trade, is a little pricier, at $10MM (with a $500K buyout). The Rockies could decide at year's end to decline Hawpe's option, turning instead to their younger, cheaper talent. The team has no shortage of outfield options, including Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Fowler, and Spilborghs.
If you were O'Dowd, how would you handle Hawpe in 2010? Is he a trade candidate this season? Is his offense strong enough to make up for his defense? Are his services worth the $9.5MM it would cost the Rockies to retain him for 2011?